Mothers using children as pawns - Shatter
Some mothers involved in custody battles use their "children as pawns" and cause fathers to have "nervous breakdowns", former Justice Minister Alan Shatter has claimed.
During an extraordinary Dáil performance, Mr Shatter launched an attack on elements of the Government's Children and Family Relationships Bill.
He said the bill did not go far enough in terms of enhancing the rights of fathers, adding that the legislation in its current form favours the mother engaged in a custody battle.
According to Mr Shatter, some mothers go out of their way to "destroy relationships" between the child at the centre of the dispute and "go to war" with the father involved.
"There is an enormous problem where people are estranged of the primary custodial parent, who most often is the mother, deliberately obstructing fathers from accessing children," Mr Shatter said.
Speaking during yesterday's debate on the bill, the Dublin South TD furiously attacked some mothers involved in custodial cases.
"Using children as pawns. Going to war with fathers, causing some fathers to have nervous breakdowns. Destroying relationships deliberately between children and fathers," he said of some mothers.
Mr Shatter, a lawyer who specialised in family law, warned of cases where courts were unable to act.
"And, yes, it's right, and the provisions about this bill about counselling and sending people off to mediation which were all in the draft bill are all absolutely right," he told the Dáil.
"But the courts have nothing of practical use they can do where you have the obstinate, obstructive, venomous, hate-filled parent who is determined to destroy the other parent and to destroy the other parent's relationship," he added.
The comments by Mr Shatter are significant given that he compiled the draft heads of the landmark bill before he resigned as justice minister last year in light of the findings of the Guerin report.
John Drennan's Guide to Politics - Spring 2015
The next election will change your life. In a special supplement with the Sunday Independent, John Drennan presents his guide to Irish politics.
Guide To Politics
- And they're off: the great election race begins but, as to where it ends, sadly nobody knows
- The key issues - Remember tax reform is not illegal, Enda
- It's like a talent show - you have to make the audience want you
- Could our interrupted revolution lie in the humanising of our politicians?
- 'It's awful losing your seat, it's a very public humiliation...'
- Too early to rule out FG/SF Coalition
- Shadowy back room boys and girls with the ear of ministers
- Enda and Joan's shaky house of cabinet cards
- Despite Enda's stated preference Easter 2016 not yet definite
- As they hatch their plans, what might be the hopes and ambitions of our party schemers?
- Battle of the leaders to be key deciding factor in election race
- Spectral scenarios or sweet dreams
- When the fuss is over who will be the winner?
The Gender Gap
The Generation Game